Monday, 20 October 2014

Monday Music: Actually it's darkness

The clocks are going back on Sunday!  Alas and alack we will no longer be in British Summer Time! Of course this year you will all cope super well due to my survival guide and of course so will I.  For now though I do want to take a moment to acknowledge the coming darkness with some music related to the dark.

Idlewild - Actually It's Darkness

Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Follow you into the Dark

The Darkness -  I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Friday, 17 October 2014

Recipe: Souper Simple Soup

I love soup all the time but even more when it is autumn and winter.  Soup is amazing.  I love root vegetables too so this is really a souper option for me.

I make a lot of variations on vegetable soup every winter. Some have potatoes and brocolli.  Some have tomatoes and red peppers, some have sweet potato and carrots and this one, this one is really easy and has parsnips in it.  I really like parsnips.  I feel ridiculous posting this as a recipe as it is SO easy but here it is:

Roasted Parsnip Soup

Apologies for poor lighting in this photo - note the flecks of parsnip in the pan . . .

Chicken or vegetable stock


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and warm your roasting tin in the oven.
2. Peel and roughly chop your parsnips and onions.
3. Add you oil (coconut or whatever) to the pan to warm/melt and then toss your parsnips and onions in the oil to coat and roast for 45 minutes.
4. After the 45 minutes are up, transfer the vegetables to a saucepan with the stock and cook out for about a further 20 minutes. Season to taste (this will vary based on your stock) and add the nutmeg (I have not specified an amount as I use quite a lot but others prefer less)
5. Take it off the heat and leave to cool. Then either transfer to a blender or use stick blender to pulse the mixture until it gets a nice smooth consistency.  I like it fairly thick, but Mr Mac prefers a looser consistency

Ta-da - now you can re-heat it and eat it.  Enjoy!  SOUP!!!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Autumn/Winter Survival Guide: Part Three

I know I am not alone in finding the long hard winter nights difficult. If I won the lottery I would probably move to somewhere sunnier from November – March with the odd trip back home for Halloween, Christmas, Hogmanay and birthdays. Until I win the lottery (or get my unfinished novel picked up for a multi-million pound film deal) I have to cope with the winter and the dark evenings and mornings.  I have over the years developed some tools to help cope with this and here is post one of three on what I plan to do this winter to keep the blues at bay.

I have already posted about general tips and things to do inside - go back and check those out if you haven't already, but here are my tips for fun things to do in the dark in Edinburgh this Autumn and Winter.

1. Botanic Lights at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Picture from the Royal Botanic Gardens Website
I am so excited to go to the Botanic Lights which launch later this month at the Royal Botanic Garden.  It really looks like a magical evening.  Even though I will not be able to tour the glass houses there they will surely look spectacular all lit up if photos from previous years are anything to go by.  I will do a full blog post once I have been.

2. Ghost Walks

I am a complete fraidy cat.  Utterly scared of pretty much everything. The prospect of a zombie apocalypse is a genuine source of terror for me. And yet I kind of want to go on a ghost walk.  There are LOADS to choose from in Edinburgh but I think the one I might try this winter is the Underground City of the Dead tour, in part because of the book Anita got me for the book swap earlier this year which is what the tour is based on.

3. Go Stargazing

At the Royal Observatory you can make the most of the long dark nights by booking in for a Winter Astronomy Session on a Friday from October to April. Tickets cost just £4 for an adult but advanced booking is recommended as these sell out quick! You even get the chance to touch a meteor which you have to admit is pretty cool.

4. Christmas Markets

Edinburgh gives good Christmas market and this year's runs from 23 November to 5 January 2015. This year there will be the wheel, spiegeltent and many shows as well as the joy of seeing market stalls looking twinkly and Christmassy which to be honest would be enough for me (I love Christmas markets!)

5. Torchlight Procession

What could be a better way to celebrate one of the darkest days of the year than a torchlight procession through Edinburgh?  Tickets are still available for being one of the torch bearers but if that seems too much you can just head down and watch on 30 December.
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